Big Shots in Immunization Country
UHCOP Chapter Wins APhA-ASP National Operation Immunization Award for Hurricane Harvey Response, Over 300 Percent Increase in Delivery
March 28 — Thanks in part to setting a new chapter record number of immunizations during 2017-18, the UH College of Pharmacy Chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) was honored with the National Operation Immunization Award March 23 during the 2019 APhA-ASP Annual Meeting & Exposition in Seattle, Wash.
Operation Immunization is one of several health initiatives – such as Operation Heart and Operation Diabetes – on which the national organization and its local constituent chapters focus much of their education and service outreach efforts during the year. Member chapters are encouraged to submit reports at the regional and national offices to remain in good standing as well as consideration for recognition. The UHCOP chapter's Operation Immunization projects were led by chairs Pharm.D. candidate Diane Dreucean and third-year Pharm.D. student Maryam Ali.
"The UHCOP APhA-ASP chapter works so hard to serve the Houston community every year and to continue to grow our initiatives," said UHCOP APhA-ASP Chapter President and Pharm.D. student Kaycie Rathburn. "It feels amazing to have all of our hard work being recognized at the national level. We are so proud of Diane and Maryam for leading our chapter to such great success and all the hard work all of our officers and members put into the chapter!"
UHCOP APhA-ASP Chapter members directly provided more than 2,300 immunizations, including more than 600 seasonal influenza immunizations, during the 2017-18 academic year. In collaboration with Walgreens, Pharm.D. student members of the chapter either directly or indirectly provided more than 2,600 Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis), hepatitis A and seasonal influenza immunizations to Hurricane Harvey victims and first responders. Overall, the chapter's immunizations represented an increase of 330 percent over the prior year.
Other activities among Operation Immunization's 26 events involving nearly 200 members included:
- Creation of an educational video titled "Jimmy's Journey" with child-friendly cartoon-style visuals to explain the science behind vaccines and how they protect against infections;
- Educating underrepresented high school students on required immunizations for meningitis before college admission as well as college students pursuing study abroad opportunities on travel immunization recommendations and disease prevention;
- Dispelling fallacies and misconceptions about vaccines through one-on-one engagements and educational presentations, such as a "Fact vs. Fiction" display and at health fairs; and
- An interactive game called "Bob's Ball Toss" that teaches children the concept of vaccine specificity and the importance of getting all of their immunizations by throwing colored "vaccine" baseballs through correlating colored bacteria holes to protect "Bob."